THE BLOG
04/11/2013 08:36 GMT | Updated 23/04/2014 07:59 BST

10 Things You Need To Know Before You Test Your Sperm Count

Male sperm counts decline with age. It takes a man over 45, five times longer to get his partner pregnant. Even older men who have very young wives (<25 years of age) take four times longer to impregnate their partners.

Last weekend Boots the chemist began selling the SpermCheck Male Fertility Test (29.99). It's a home testing kit which allows men to test whether they have the a low or normal sperm count. The kit is as accurate as a lab test at identifying low or normal sperm count and it gives you clear results in the privacy of your own home in just 10 minutes. Before you try it, there's a few things you need to know...

1. The minimum sperm count required to get your partner pregnant is 20 million+ sperm per milliliter.

2. It takes 10 to 11 weeks for sperm to be produced, so making lifestyle changes now and testing your sperm in three months time will optimize your result.

3. Daily ejaculation encourages the production of newer healthier sperm and leads to a 12% drop in sperm DNA damage.

4. Male sperm counts decline with age. It takes a man over 45, five times longer to get his partner pregnant. Even older men who have very young wives (<25 years of age) take four times longer to impregnate their partners.

5. Research from Harvard School of Public Health confirms that eating certain vegetables and salads can improve sperm motility and sperm quality. Men who ate higher levels of beta-carotene, which is found in carrots, lettuce and spinach, and lutein, which is found in lettuce and spinach, had a 6.5% increase in sperm motility. Those who consumed higher levels of lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, had 1.7% improved sperm quality.

6. Research by Professor Jill Attaman from Harvard Medical School in Boston has linked a diet that is high in saturated fat to reduced sperm counts. In contrast, men who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids were found to have sperm with a more normal structure. Sardines, salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and you might also want to add in an oral antioxidant such as vitamin E, L-carnitine, zinc or magnesium.

7. A meta analysis of existing research on male fertility found that couples were more likely to have a pregnancy, or live birth, if the man took certain vitamins or other antioxidants. Sperm count can be improved by a combination of zinc and folic acid. Low levels of vitamin C have been implicated in an abnormal sperm count.

8. Dehydration can also lead to reduced semen production. Semen is the watery fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells and transports them during ejaculation. If there is not enough fluid, conception is less likely.

9. Keep cool. The testicles hang down from the body is so that they can maintain the cooler temperatures that are required for sperm production. Because it is not advisable to allow the testes to heat up by more than 1°C, long baths or Jacuzzis are not a good idea.

10. Nor is it a good idea to work with a laptop on your knee because the heat from the computer has been shown to increase scrotal temperature by 2.6°C within fifteen minutes. Rates of infertility among chefs are twice the UK average because of exposure to to intense heat and radiation from ovens.